An artist was shot and killed in Oakland, Calif. while helping paint a community mural for a group that works to stop violence and promote peace, officials said.
He was shot under a freeway underpass in West Oakland Tuesday, according to ABC. Police spokesman Johnna Watson said that an argument led to the shooting and that officers are searching for the shooter, according to Associated Press.
Ramos reportedly had an altercation with a man and it escalated to violence. His friends said that the man was messing with his equipment and Ramos asked him to stop. Before long, a shot was fired.
Antonio Ramos’ friends and colleagues gathered Wednesday morning to honor the 27-year-old deceased artist at a vigil at the mural site.
“If you look underneath this freeway, you know, you see often a lot of pain,” Oakland Unified School District’s Jumoke Hinton Hodge said. “You see people who are homeless. Oftentimes you see a lot of dirt, you see grime. So yeah, he was beautifying this small space inside of West Oakland.”
Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent called the shooting “really tragic” and “totally unacceptable.” He added that Ramos was only “trying to make a positive difference in this city and lost his life.”
Several of his friends had similar reactions to the incident. Patrick Jackson, in tears, said that he was “lost” and “confused.” Another friend, David Platford, said that “it’s real tragic since the whole mural is about community revitalization.”
Watson said that police are in the process of interviewing witnesses and will review surveillance camera footage from the area. Watson added that the area is busy “with a mix of commercial and residential buildings so we hope someone saw something.”
Ramos was one of 10 artists working on the Super Heroes Mural Project. The project is being organized by ArtEsteem, an art and literacy branch of Attitudinal Healing Connection that seeks to stop violence using education and art.